We are all living through a historic moment in time. Years from now our lives will appear in full sections of our children's textbooks, and our grandchildren will ask in awe about what it was like to live in this era.
At least, that's what nearly everyone seems to think.
But what, exactly, does that even mean? Hasn't every person ever alive technically "lived through history"? What makes us so different now?
I obviously don't know any definite answers to any of those questions. But maybe one answer lies in how much people don't know about history.
I don't think we are living in a time we as a global society have never seen before. Mankind has seen the rise of populism before. It has seen sweeping political unrest before.
America has seen quite a great deal in her history as well. She has seen xenophobia and racism plenty; she has seen populist presidents and resentment towards them plenty, too.
So what exactly is different? Really, not that much.
People often say we will all look back on this time and wonder how we lived through it. Some claim we are living through a truly monumental period of time in mankind's history. But I think we are simply aware of the fact that we are living, and that the present has consequences for the future.
Maybe that is really all it means to "live through history"; we know that we are living. We have all somehow become hyper-focused on the fact that we are alive, and the fact that people from the future will look at us as the past.
I think that means we have become too focused on ourselves and not focused enough on what is happening around us.
That's a problem.
The events, attitudes and turmoil that we are calling history are, for us at least, happening in real time. Everything we describe as history is still very much the present.
We need to stay focused on our present before we worry about what our children's textbooks will say about us. If we do nothing but wallow in our own misery, or confusion, or pride or anything else, we will accomplish nothing.
I think we could all stand to think a little less about ourselves as the future's past. Every generation, after all, is someone's history. We aren't any different.